4 Ways to Teach Your Kids Patience

What is it they always say – patience is a virtue?

I am the first to admit, my patience level is nearly nonexistent. While it has improved over the years, especially with the addition of children (God bless my kids for bringing me down a notch), I am always keeping myself in check. I’m like the Energizer Bunny always on the move and in a hurry, so don’t get in my way.

I am slowly starting to see my lack of patience in my children. Could it be my unfavorable characteristic is now reflected on them or general toddlerdom? We may never know, but what I do know is that I am constantly working towards self-improvement and providing my kids with the tools they need to be patient individuals.

Here are four ways to promote patience –

  1. Parents Practicing Patience – I’ve already admitted my faults, but we should lead by example as parents. My kids are my driving force to actively show what it means to be a mindful and patient person. If mommy can do it, they can do it too!
  2. Slow and Steady – I don’t know if this can be said for all toddlers, but my boys are always on the go. A moment of Zen is very rare and achieved when they are asleep at the end of the day. A great way to establish mindfulness and patience is to introduce activities like coloring, building with Legos, or baking cookies. We want to slow down the soul and enjoy the outcome of taking our time to complete the task at hand.
  3. Celebrate – What kid doesn’t love praise? When our kids practice patience let’s acknowledge them with a job well done. While we should tackle moments of impatience, complimenting them is of the upmost importance. A reward doesn’t hurt either. We have a mindfulness chart at home where my son fills the chart (with stickers) every time he shows patience. When all 12 slots are filled, he can then select a prize from the treasure chest.
  4. Start the Clock – A trick my parents used when I was a youngster – the egg timer. I have found my oldest responds well to the clock. He will sit there and wait for it to ding before he moves to the next activity. “We are going to park in five minutes,” “You can watch your iPad for two more minutes,” or “we will be home in 10 minutes,” are all examples of establishing expectations through time. It eases anxiety and helps when the anticipation of what’s to come.

The two most powerful warriors are patience and time. – Leo Tolstoy

Do you or your kids struggle with mindfulness? How do you address patience? Let me know in the comments below.

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Mom Review: Now Say This – The Right Words to Solve Every Parenting Dilemma

Parenting [par·ent·ing]: the raising of a child by its parents (Merriam Webster). A simple enough definition, but a loaded word on its own. I don’t know about you, but I am an active consumer of the “parenting book.” What is the best way to raise my child? How should I discipline my child? Should I even discipline my child? These are all questions I ask myself daily.

I have been fortunate enough to have two kids who are innately good, but I can honestly say that my cherub babes have their “moments.” Like many parents understand, those occasional “toddler moments” often leave us wondering if we communicated appropriately and whether we could have diffused the situation in a healthier way.

When I got my hands on a copy of Now Say This – The Right Words to Solve Every Parenting Dilemma, I had no idea the world of difference it would make in my life. As a mom who is continuously growing as a parent while trying to raise two functioning (hopefully) human beings, this book serves as an excellent tool in my parenting artillery.

Co-authors, Heather Turgeon, MFT and Julie Wright, MFT, clearly understand the brain capacity of a parent with small children. Many parenting tip and technique books set an expectation that mom and dad can and should retain 50 + (give or take) steps on how mold the perfect child. Yeah, right! There is no way I can remember a laundry list of steps, let alone what I did five-minutes ago, but Turgeon and Wright make it easy with their three-step approach.

The ALP or the Attune, Limit Set, and Problem Solve approach, creates a space of kindness and accountability for both the parent and the child.

  1. Attune: watch, listen, and understand
  2. Limit set: state and hold reasonable limits or state a reality
  3. Problem solve: engage your child in creating solutions

I found this method to be immensely impactful with both my three-year-old and my one-year-old. Even though they are close in age, their ability to communicate is vastly different; however, this approach makes easy to connect with them, in their own way, at their level.

This book not only covers the ALP approach, it also provides proactive tools and application examples to ensure family balance. With a wide-range of presented real-life scenarios, I can tackle many a toddler mishap in a healthy and effective manner. Together my kids and I can find a way to resolve the situation.

If you’re a parent, parent-to-be, teacher, or anyone who works with kids, I strongly encourage you to absorb this insightful information. Within a week, the way my kids and I communicated completely transformed. Rather than feeling frustrated, we were able to walk through the situation(s) together. No more tears from either kid or parent. Just a mom, dad, and two toddlers laughing, smiling, and in complete harmony. Thank you, Turgeon and Wright; you are the true rock stars in my new scope of successful communication.

To learn more about this book and to get your copy of Now Say This – The Right Words to Solve Every Parenting Dilemma, go to Penguin Random House.

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World Cup Wonders

As the biggest sporting event kicks-off in Russia, I can’t help but think about the 2014 World Cup in Brazil and the important milestone it introduced in my life. My husband and I had the fortunate opportunity to travel to Salvador, Brazil for the 2014 World Cup to cheer on some of our favorite teams (for me it was Germany and the Netherlands) in hopes of being crowned the world champ.

Prior to leaving for Brazil we were trying to get pregnant. After suffering a miscarriage in September of 2013, I had painfully tried to get pregnant for months. I was extremely discouraged and decided that we would stopped trying and pick it back up when we returned from our overseas adventure. I didn’t want my time during this once-in-a-lifetime moment to be filled with the constant need to obsess about the fact that my body was not cooperating. I was leaving it to the universe to decide.

After a series of exhausting flights and encounters with futbol fans from all over the world, we had made it to our destination. This coastal town was nothing like I had seen before. With beautiful views, a strong atmosphere of Brazilian pride (Neymar!!), and historical vibrancy, I felt beyond grateful for the opportunity to spend time with my husband at such a cherished event.

Along with it’s cultural richness, Brazil plagued me with the toughest bout of food poisoning/Montezuma’s Revenge I had ever experienced in my life. Now, there are number of things that could have caused this mishap, and I won’t get into the particulars, but let’s just say, it was ROUGH. I spent the Germany vs. Portugal match (way to go Germany!) huddled over the front of my stadium seat with a souvenir bag in hand. Shout out the Brazilian staff person who spoke only Portuguese, who continued to check on me. We couldn’t understand each other, but she was a life saver.

Once I made it through roughly 48 hours of pure “horror,” I was back on my feet and thought nothing of it until we returned home. We had been home for not even 24 hours when I realized, I had missed my period and quite honestly forgot about it. I was so focused on travelling and recovering that the pressures of trying to get pregnant had disappeared.

I remember going to the bathroom and peeing on a pregnancy stick, anticipating it would come back negative. I sat it down, turned on the timer, and went back to what I was doing around the house. When I heard the timer go off I casually walked over to the test. When I picked it up and it started flashing the word “PREGNANT;” I couldn’t believe it! Well, of course after that I took three more tests and they all came back positive. I can’t quite explain the feelings I had as I waited patiently for my husband to get home, so I could tell him the news.

Now you might be wondering why pregnancy and the World Cup go together for me. To start, I made a pledge to stop obsessing before my trip. I gave into the power of timing and fate, which is something I’m naturally terrible at doing, and it produced my desire. The World Cup helped me disengage from the negative space in the forefront of my mind. Secondly, I did in fact have food poisoning, but the little life growing inside of me, heightened that experience. He keeps me on my toes to this day. Finally, when I think about the World Cup, I will not only think about the time I had a Brazil, but the fact that I was carrying around my miracle.

The World Cup is a big deal in my house for many reasons, but for me, it’s because I was at the beginning stages of carrying life; my baby boy.

4 Ways to Create and Maintain a Successful Family Routine

When routine changes it can throw everyone off, especially a toddler who LOVES consistency. I recently started a new job that’s extremely fulfilling but requires more office time than my previous job. When I worked remotely I could drop my kids off later and pick them earlier than most parents, but now I must drop them off earlier and pick them up a little later than normal. My three-year-old picked up on this change immediately, and let’s just say, he’s not a fan.

My son quickly became hyper sensitive and started not listening/following directions as well as he used to. One could say this is happening because he’s at “that” age, but it seems suspect for this to have started around the same time I began my new job.  I’m not a detective, but I can clearly breakdown the evidence.

My husband and I sprang into action to make a new “norm” for our household. It’s important to us to have a space where our kids feel and actively participate in a healthy routine. Now, I’ve only birthed two little ones, so I can only speak from my experience with them, but thoughtful consistency is key.

Here are the four ways we successfully found our new routine:

  1. Communicate – Seems simple enough, right? You can never over communicate with your kids, at least in my opinion. We talk about and talk through our routine constantly with our kids, more specifically our toddler. He seems to respond to well to repeated verbal communication.
  2. Cool and Calm – As parents it’s easy to lose our cool when our kids react in a not-so-attractive manner when they get frustrated about the change in routine (I know from experience and I’m not proud of it). When we act in a level-headed manner, our kids will have a positive response. We set the emotional example.
  3. Sleep – When our kids are well rested, the world seems to be a safe place, but when they don’t, you might as well duck and cover. When my kids get a great night’s sleep, they are prepared to take on the day with a positive attitude. My one-year-old sleeps a solid 13 hours a night and my three-year-old clocks in between 10-11 hours a night. I truly believe sleep makes a big difference in achieving a new “norm.”
  4. Fun – It’s important to add a new and exciting component to the routine. Make it worthwhile for all involved parties. My husband and I “let” our toddler guide the bedtime routine. He picks the books, he turns off the lights, he arranges his bed, etc. We are known for putting on a performance. If it’s a song, a monologue, an interpretive dance of the book we are reading, we make it fun. This is part of the routine that is specifically tailored for him and something he looks forward to every single day. It’s HIS mom and dad time.

I’ll say it again, change is hard, but if you work to make it a positive experience, your kids will adjust. Fingers crossed we can maintain our son’s positive perspective and make the one-on-one time we have with him memorable in the best way. What are some tips that have worked for you? Let me know if the comments.

DK Book Wish List + Giveaway

Reading together and sharing stories is a necessity in my household. My nearly three-year-old will not go bed unless we read three stories. I know what you’re thinking, “three stories?!” Yes! I truly cherish my one-on-one time with my toddler. With an 8-month-old it can be difficult to give him all of the attention he wants, but our nighttime routine is OUR time, so I’m OK with three bedtime stories.

The majority of our bedtime reads come from our good friends over at DK Publishing. From touch-and-feel books to encyclopedias all the way to flashcards and experiments, DK publishing has all of the books you need to keep a well-stocked bookshelf for you and your kids.

We want to share with you four of our favorite and most anticipated DK publications (even though our list could go on and on).

Pop-Up Peekaboo! Farm

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Finding a book my toddler and my baby both love has proven to be a serious task in the past, but with the Pop-Up Peekaboo! Farm book, we can all sit down and enjoy a book together. Under each individual flap is a pop-up surprise guaranteed to create lots of laughs and giggles. My oldest son loves to point out all of the animals to his baby brother (insert a collective “aww” sound). The baby loves his bog brother and gives him is full attention during Pop-Up Peekaboo Farm time!

Dinosaur A to Z

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Now, I’ve talked about this book in the past, and well, it’s still a favorite for all us. Folks, we read the entire, YES, the entire Dinosaur A to Z book every.single.night. My toddler probably knows more about dinosaurs than the most well-known and well-educated archeologist in the world (no joke). He thoroughly enjoys seeing the beautiful artistic adaptations, and every turn of the page is like seeing the book again for the first time. If your child loves dinosaurs, I strongly recommend you get your claws on this book (see what I did there?).

My First Animals – Touch and Feel Picture Cards

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My toddler is at the phase in life where he likes to learn new things, because he loves the praise that comes along with learning something new. The My First Animals – Touch and Feel Picture Cards is the perfect addition to our daily routine. Within this compact display are 16 colorful early learning cards your toddler will LOVE! Who doesn’t get excited when they see kittens and puppies?

How to be a Scientist – GIVEAWAY

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I grew up in a household with a dad who has his doctorate in analytical chemistry and I had no desire to learn science. The idea of going to my biology or chemistry class gave me an upset stomach. When we got our hands on Steve Mould’s How to Be Scientist book, I got excited about science. Oh how I wish they had this book when I was going through science classes. No matter how old your kids are, teaching them the importance of the sciences is essential. Who was Marie Curie? How do you make a compass? What is energy? These are all things you can learn in this gorgeous and educational book.

We love this book so much we wanted to give away a signed copy of Steve Mould’s How to be a Scientist.

Here’s how to enter:

Option 1

Follow us on Instagram @makingmillmama
Tag a friend in the comments section
For an extra entry, share the post in the your Instagram story

Option 2

Follow us on Twitter @makingmillmama
Like and Retweet
 

If you do both option 1 and option 2, you will have double the entries. This giveaway is not affiliated with DK Publishing, Instagram, or Twitter. The giveaway will run from Thursday, December 21, 2017 to Sunday, December 31, 2017 8:00 PM EST. The winner will be direct messaged if they are the winner and the book will ship following the New Year holiday. This giveaway is open to both US and International. Good luck!

What are your favorite DK Publishing books? Will you get your hands on these awesome books? Let me know in the comments below.

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Christmas Crafts for Siblings

I don’t know about you, but I am always looking for new and cute crafts to do with the kids around Christmas time. Each year we gift our family members with new piece of personalized artwork. As the “director” of these artistic projects, I always try to do something different from the year before.

It was easier to create a festive craft when it was just one kiddo, but now with two, we have to come up with ways to incorporate both boys into the priceless masterpiece. My parents, in particular, love hand print and footprint crafts. So, I have come up with three Christmas art projects for siblings which include hand prints and footprints.

All paintings include toxic-free paints; safe for kids and animals.

Oh Christmas Tree!

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This cute craft highlights one of our favorite holiday symbols, the Christmas tree! Even though my 8 month old is only 4 pounds less than my two and half year old, my toddler has slightly bigger feet. For this painting, I pressed my toddler’s foot as the Christmas tree and used a press of the baby’s hand as the star on top of the tree. I added polka-dots and “OH” around the tree for additional pops of color.

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Perfectly Packaged 

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I used the wrapped presents under the Christmas tree as the inspiration for this colorfully pressed painting. As I was thinking about what hand prints looked like, I thought of a bow; the perfect touch to a perfectly packaged present! Since my kids are still little, this painting required a little more of a mommy touch with the designing of the present and the wording.

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Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer

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Who doesn’t love good ole’ Rudy? Another hand print focused craft, the placement is critical. Have you ever tried to straighten your 8 month old’s hand as it is covered in paint in order to place it perfectly on the canvas? No?! It’s a challenge!! This is by far my favorite Christmas craft. Rudolph looks so cute (can I keep these out all year long?) and festive. You will want to make this painting with your kid(s).

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*Spoiler alert* for my family – you will be getting these crafts for Christmas. I challenge you to contain your excitement.

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What do you think of these sibling Christmas crafts? Do you think you will try these with your kids or kid? Let me know in the comments below or if you have any other craft ideas. I am always looking.

Merry Christmas and happy Holidays!

Teaching Toddlers to Give Back and Share

“Please share with your brother!” When you have a toddler and a baby, the struggle of teaching a nearly three-year-old the importance of sharing is a difficult journey. As we enter the season of giving, and the more I think about how I want my children to be kids that give back, I’ve brainstormed a bevy of ways to combine the art of giving back with that of sharing.

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Here are three ways to show your kids how to give back through sharing:

  1. Cleaning Up and Giving Back – My children have been blessed with so much. As we approach the season of gifting and giving, we have found it important to have our toddler go through toys we have grouped together and determine which toys he would like to pass along to his baby brother and what toys he would like to donate to a local charity. By giving our son an active role in the cleaning out process we are able to share with him about the difference he is making in the lives of other children his age as well as teaching him that by sharing with his baby brother, he is letting his brother create wonderful memories with those beloved toys as well!
  2. Operation Christmas Child – There is nothing quite like seeing the joy on a child’s face as they open up a present. The Samaritan’s Purse has provided an opportunity for you and your child to bring joy to another child’s life. Have your child pick out which toys he/she wants to include in their box for a boy or girl their age and fill the box to send off to those overseas. This giving opportunity lets them have an active role in making a difference and opens up conversation on the importance of sharing.

Learn more about Operation Christmas Child here >> https://www.samaritanspurse.org/what-we-do/operation-christmas-child/ <<

  1. A Giving Bank – Inevitably, family members like to give my toddler some cash and for a toddler a five dollar bill doesn’t mean much. As he grows he will learn the importance of saving, but by starting early, we can establish two piggy banks. One bank for personal savings and one for charity. He will be able to donate the money to a charity of his choice or use the money to fill a shoe box for Operation Christmas Child or a stocking for the Salvation Army; whatever they want to do!

These are just a few ways to get your little ones in the holiday spirit of giving back as well as offer inspiration to tackle the life lesson of sharing.

How do you teach your kids about helping others and giving back? Let me know in the comments below.

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Toddler Time – The Slime Book

I never fully understood the obsession with slime. For months Instagram stories, tweets, and even Youtube gurus were plastering their feeds with SLIME. While this was all happening, I was sitting on my couch saying, “what’s the big deal?” Well folks, I now I understand the fascination.

I am always looking for fun activities to do with my toddler on the weekend. It’s easy to cave and let him watch his iPad all day long, but I refuse to let him fall victim to the digital world (I had to add a dramatic flair). As any nearly three-year-old boy, he loves to get into anything and everything gooey, goopy, and gloopy. When we received The Slime Book by DK Publishing, I knew we had found the exciting activity my kid would love!

Now my toddler is obsessed with dinosaurs, so I wanted to do something slime related involving our prehistoric friends. I found a recipe called “See-Through Slime” which required ingredients I already had readily available in my home and used the tactile aspect of the “Dinosaurs in Amber” recipe and added plastic dinosaurs to the mix. Once our slime was mixed and filled with dinos, we played a fun game of archeologist. I’m not one to brag, but we discovered some pretty unique species that day (jealous?).

Even though fluffy, stretchy, and snow slime is fun to make, let’s keep in mind that toddlers, especially my toddler, like to put everything in their mouths. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve told my son to “stop, remove it from your mouth, put it down, and step away.” The Slime Book brings the joy of making slime to an all new delicious level with their handful of edible recipes. You don’t have to worry about your kid consuming glue, glitter, saline solution or shaving cream when you mix these items together.

If you are looking for a fun activity to do with your kids, check out DK Publishing’s The Slime Book and their 30+ awesome slime recipes. “Each recipe is Borax-free and uses safe, readily available ingredients,” so you will feel safe making squishy experiments with your little ones.

Have you entered the world of slime? What are your favorite slime recipes to do with your kids? Let me know in the comments below.

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Toddler Time – Get Qurious

My two and half year old is very smart. I know what you’re thinking, “he’s your kid, and of course you think he’s smart!” Well that is true, but he really is very smart and needs to be challenge beyond basic spelling and counting songs often provided to preschoolers.

Like many children, my son enjoys the time he has to play on his tablet device. He loves watching his favorite shows and even playing learning games on his iPad during downtime. My son has been playing the same learning games over and over again and has memorized all of the potential outcomes. It wasn’t until we got our hands on Get Qurious, that he was excited to tackle new learning challenges.

Manu the meerkat and his friends from the Get Qurious app make learning on the iPad exciting once again. This is not your typical learning app; it is an augmented reality app. Get Qurious requires participation on the tablet device (camera is needed) as well as outside of technology. The digital world and the real world can come together as one.

We had the privilege to expand our minds with the Get Qurious Explorer Box. This box unlocks magic with new and exciting ways to play. There are four crafted games you can play with your kids through the Get Qurious Explorer Box. In your box you will receive the following:

  • 16 Double-Sided Cards
  • 4 Role-Playing Masks
  • 2 Double-Sided Treasure Hunt Maps

Build a story with the beautifully illustrated cards and listen/read along with the story as it’s played back, create a rocket ship built to take down asteroids and collect treasure, become a character in a story by wearing a mask, or go on an animated 3D treasure hunt. Adventure is endless with Get Qurious. The Get Qurious app is designed for children ages 4-8 years.

Many parents feel a hesitation to introduce technology to their kids at such a young age. As a mom that was once hesitant I understand, but Get Qurious is a phenomenal way of slowly introducing technology into your child’s life. It creates a safe space where they can learn to properly navigate digital devices while also forming their creative sides through digital education.

Playing by his/herself or with friends, Get Qurious is a great way to engage your kids in creative and thoughtful learning. Get your hands on Get Qurious by going to:

Website 
Facebook – @getquriousapp
Twitter – @getquriousapp
Instagram –  @getquriousapp

Make sure you download the app and order your Get Qurious box. There are many Get Qurious box options to choose from, so why just choose one? Get your kids excited about learning TODAY!

You can now pre-order the Get Qurious Nature Box and Get Qurious Adventure Box. You will love this app just as much as your little ones, guaranteed!

Potty Training a Stubborn Toddler

My parents love to tell the story of when they were potty training me as a child. For an entire year, from age two to three, I flat out refused to use the toilet. It wasn’t that I didn’t know how to, it was the fact that I was being instructed to go to the bathroom against my own will. I was, and I will admit, still am a control freak. The very day I turned three I made the proclamation I was going to start using the potty. All of the time my parents invested in potty training me for a year was resolved in a matter of moments when a control freak toddler decided that she was ready.

Mom and dad, I’m sorry…

Now, I’ve said it before and I will say it again, karma comes full circle. My oldest, my two and half year old, is a certified control freak like his mom. Using the potty is a control issue for him as well.

For a while my son would lose his mind when we would suggest the use of potty. You would have thought his dad and I, his teachers, my parents, etc. were trying to murder him. We collectively felt defeated in our efforts.

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You want me to do what?

After countless months working with my son, we had a breakthrough. We successfully broke my toddler of his control issues pertaining to using the bathroom! We used the process I like to call PIE to achieve our potty training goals.

P is for patience – This part is mostly for the trainer not the trainee. When you get frustrated and your little one chimes in on the frustration they start to feel discouraged and that my friends is the last thing you want to do. Patience will take you very far in the potty training game.

I is for incentives – This is a very polarized issue when it comes to potty training. Listen, my son knows what’s up; he’s no fool. We created a potty treat box that we placed on the counter in front of my son’s potty. The box contains small dinosaurs (his current obsession), stickers (dinosaurs of course), and Dum Dum lollipops (“pops” as they’ve been deemed by my son). He intensely stared at that box while going to the potty. The idea of getting a prize motivated him to use the restroom. After about a week of taking from the potty treat box, he became bored and no longer requires a treat to use the bathroom. He now goes with no demands.

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E is for encouragement – We make sure our toddler feels proud of using the bathroom successfully. He really responds to praise. There are lots of high-fives passed around. It melts my heart when he runs into the room screaming with a smile on his face “I PEEEEEED!!!” When he has an accident (which are few and far between) we tell him it’s OK and that he’ll make it to the potty next time and to let mommy and daddy know when he needs to go. Encouragement is key!

I’m not claiming this is the answer to potty training your stubborn toddler, but I will say we found success by following these steps! What are your potty training recommendations?